Monday, September 1, 2014

eating clean - guest post

I'm so excited that Andrea from Hand and the Heart is a guest writer here today!  She is one of my favorite people I've "met" through blogging and awhile back, we decided it'd be fun to swap posts.  She happens to be insanely healthy, so I asked her if she'd share a bit on how to make healthy eating an easier thing to accomplish.  I know you all will enjoy! 

Hi friends! I'm Andrea and I blog over at Hand and the Heart. I simply adore Claire and her space of the internet here, so when she asked me to guest post for her about one of my favorite topics, I couldn't refuse. Claire says she doesn't love to be in the kitchen and isn't in to buying fancy and organic foods, but wants to know how to make eating clean practical for most people. I think I can help.

Perhaps you've heard some of these phrases recently and rolled your eyes at the snobbery of it all.

"Oh, we're doing the Whole30!" 
"Who me? I'm paleo." 
"We're strictly on a clean eating diet around here." 

Excuse me wha? As opposed to eating dirty? Let me clear a few things up. First of all, I'm kind of one of those food snobs. Seriously, my husband is happy we eat healthy and all but I think he is secretly not so secretly wishing we ate lower quality food to save our grocery budget a little money. I'm one of those "eating clean" people. But honestly, I like to think of it as eating real food that has been minimally processed, most of the time.

I used to throw down the mac-n-cheese and chocolate chip cookies like nobody's business, but eventually those habits caught up with me when my upper 20's metabolism couldn't keep up. Add in a pregnancy and the realization that what we eats matters, and I turned into a food freak. I've written a few posts here and here about our food philosophies, but this by no roundabout means I am a perfect eater. Far from it, in fact. Which is why I try and avoid all the "rules" and "programs" surrounding food and lifestyle choices.

Without further ado, let's dive into some of my practical advise for eating clean.

| Don't Over Think It | 
Like I mentioned earlier, I don't like to over-think everything I am eating, or feel like I have somehow "failed" if I didn't follow the rules. Think about eating foods close to their natural state and local/organically grown when possible. 

| Mmmm, Money |
I know it's expensive, so does my husband. Buy produce organic produce off the Dirty Dozen List, or hit up your local farmer's market. Search around and see if there are any local farms who sell sides of beef. Invest in a deep freeze and STOCK UP on good deals of foods you will eat. Costco is your friend. A lot of processed foods are actually more expensive, so stick to the outer aisles of your grocery store. Paying a little more for healthy food now is preventive medicine for your health later on.

| Read Labels |
A lot of things are labeled "natural" or some other claim to get you to buy them, which is a very clever marketing scheme. Simply reading the labels gives you a clearer picture of what you will be putting into your body. A common theme for eating clean is to not eat a processed product if it has more than 5 ingredients listed on the label. I don't abide by that strictly, but it's a good rule of thumb. Knowing what I know now about GMOs, pesticides, and chemicals I shudder when I read the ingredients of a lot of packaged foods (I know, I know…food snob coming out.)

| Have A Reason | 
If you don't understand the reason behind why you are doing something, it probably won't work out. Read books and watch documentaries to educate yourself about the food we eat. My son and overall health of my family is the biggest driving force behind why I go the extra mile to meal plan, budget, and prepare healthy foods. I'm never, ever, judging anyone, but I just can't imagine filling my tiny human's body up with crap from such an early age. I want him to have the best start to life.

| Plan It Out |
The most practical piece of advise I can offer here is to take the time to plan. Use pinterest, cookbooks, friend's recipes, blogs, etc and compile some of your favorites so you have a "go-to" list you can pull from repeatedly. Plan out your family dinners, plan what you will pack for lunches, and make it a routine and habit. It does NOT have to be fancy! Think steamed veggies, grilled organic chicken breasts, and quinoa. Basic. If you think your kids are picky, check out this post here for some ideas.

| It Won't Be Fast |
We are used to convenience. Eating this way isn't convenient. It goes back to the basics of knowing where our food comes from, and taking the time to prepare it and enjoy it with people we love. Food is this basic human need that also translates into love, emotions, feelings, and the very primal nature of who we are. I like that about it.

Fueling our bodies with healthy nutrients and minerals feels so good! What about you? What are your food philosophies?

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